Zaanse Schans day trips from Amsterdam

Get out of Amsterdam for a day to explore the beautiful Dutch countryside and discover the authenticity of rural Holland and its typical windmills!

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

6 min read

Zaanse Schans day trips from Amsterdam

Dutch mill at sunset | ©Malcolm Lightbody

Amsterdam is an exciting city, with a unique aesthetic and where there are many interesting places to see.

But why not take advantage of this trip to Holland to see other places within the country? Don't hesitate and embark on an adventure into the beautiful Dutch countryside.

Take an organized tour to Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans| ©Moritz Kindler
Zaanse Schans| ©Moritz Kindler

Windmills, cheese dairies, clog makers, tea houses, lakes, beautiful flower beds... If you want to discover the treasures of rural Holland, the best option is to take a day trip to Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam and Marken by bus. The first stop on this tour is Zaanse Schans, a village on the banks of the Zaan River famous for its windmills.

If you want to discover what life was like in Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries, a stroll through this little village in the Dutch countryside is a good way to do so. Get your camera ready because its bucolic landscape seems to be inspired by a fairy tale and you will want to take pictures non-stop.

The windmills by the river are the main attraction of Zaanse Schans. The guide explained to us that this region became the country's first industrial region in the 17th century with the more than 600 mills that were built to produce oils, dyes, paint, wooden planks and to grind spices.

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Combine your excursion to Zaanse Schans with other visits such as Edam, Volendam and Marken or Keukenhof Gardens

If you want to take advantage of your day out of Amsterdam to get to know the Dutch countryside to the fullest, you can complete your Zaanse Schans tour with a visit to Edam, Volendam and Marken or even with a trip to the Keukenhof tulip gardens.

Whichever option you choose, you will have the opportunity to get to know the country much better and you will be able to take advantage of the proximity of the capital to incredible natural sites.

What does an excursion to Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam and Marken include?

  • Professional guide.
  • Transportation by bus.
  • Visit to the windmills of Zaanse Schans.
  • Visit to the cheese market or the tea houses by the Edam canal.
  • Visit to the village of Volendam, a clog workshop, a traditional cheese factory and free tasting of typical products.
  • Visit to the island of Marken.

Book a combined excursion to Zaanse Schans

Tips for visiting the Zaanse Schans

Sunset at the windmills of Zaanse Schans| ©Malcolm Lightbody
Sunset at the windmills of Zaanse Schans| ©Malcolm Lightbody

What do you need to bring?

  • Comfortable clothes and shoes.
  • An umbrella or raincoat is always a good idea in the Netherlands because the weather is variable and it can rain at a moment's notice.
  • A bottle of water and some snacks
  • A desire to have a good time.

Are you traveling with luggage?

Don't worry, during the tour you can leave it on the bus. When you return to Amsterdam the driver parks right next to Central Station so you can take the train to the airport or to your next destination.

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When is the best time to visit the Zaanse Schans?

Flowery fields in spring| ©Aswathy N
Flowery fields in spring| ©Aswathy N

May to October is the best time to travel to Amsterdam or any other part of the country.

  • Spring is a special time because the fields start to bloom and nature is at its best.
  • On the other hand, summers are mild, days are longer and as temperatures hover around 26ºC, sightseeing at this time is a pleasure.
  • In autumn, on the other hand, the days start to be shorter and it is necessary to put on some warm clothes as the weather starts to cool down.
  • As for the winters, due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, they are cold with frequent rains, fog, frost and strong winds. In other words, the weather is not as favorable as at other times of the year to go hiking, although for some people it can also have its charm.

What is Edam, the town of the popular Dutch cheese, like?

Typical Dutch windmills| ©Arjan de jong
Typical Dutch windmills| ©Arjan de jong

The next stop on this tour through the Dutch countryside is Edam, and when talking about this little town one cannot help but think of its cheese. In the 17th century, Holland was already exporting this famous product and since then it has been going to all corners of the world for centuries.

This outing gives us the opportunity to visit its famous traditional cheese market, which has been in operation since the Middle Ages and in summer they carry out historical recreations so that tourists can see what it was like in those days. Visiting the Edam cheese market with a guide is a very interesting experience that keeps a part of the city's history alive.

But Edam is more than just rich cheese. It is a beautiful town located 20 kilometers from Amsterdam in an area called Laag Holland that looks like something out of a fairy tale.

Strolling through the old town of this typical village on the shores of Lake IJsselmeer you will find small shopping streets, cute little tea houses along the canal and cozy terraces where you can have a drink. Some of its main monuments are the church of St. Nicholas, the Town Hall, the Carillon of the sixteenth century or the Edam Museum.

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What is Volendam, the port of Edam like?

Located between Edam and Marken, this little fishing village just 20 minutes from Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful and authentic of the Dutch countryside thanks to its beautiful harbor, its narrow streets and its colorful houses.

Therefore, the best way to discover Volendam is on foot. The guide will lead you through amazing places so that you can take beautiful pictures of the tour while she explains the history of Volendam and its connection to the sea.

During the tour you will see places like the Doolhof and the Dijk, two old quarters full of fishermen's houses in a maze of narrow, highly decorated streets and canals, which have fascinated many artists for centuries.

You will also see places like the dike of the fishing port, its beautiful churches, its stores... and you will discover the origins of this town as the port of Edam.

But before the route through the town we visited a traditional cheese factory where they explained to us how they make typical cheeses of the region such as Gouda or Edam and at the end we were treated to a free tasting of traditional products that were delicious. It was one of the most enjoyable moments of the day because I love this kind of excursions.

Then we were taken to a traditional workshop of clogs or "klompen" as they are called in Dutch. Like tulips or windmills, these wooden shoes are another national icon of the Netherlands. During the visit the master clog maker will show you how they are made and some of his most striking creations. I have never seen anything like it before and it is a very laborious and curious handicraft process, really worth seeing!

How is Marken, the idyllic island?

Across the IJsselmeer lake, just in front of Volendam, is Marken, an island that was separated from mainland Holland in the thirteenth century because of a storm.

One of the things that struck us most about this town are its wooden houses on mounds of earth and artificial called "terpen". They are unique in the world! The guide explained to us that they were built this way to avoid the damage caused by rain and floods, which are very frequent in this area.

It is amazing to see the great ingenuity that those people had to live with the tides despite the fact that the water was gradually gaining ground to the town. For centuries, the population of Marken lived in isolation and it was not until 1957 when a dike was built that ended the flooding and allowed it to become a peninsula by connecting it to the mainland.

When you enter Marken you will realize that this place exudes charm everywhere, no wonder the film director Tim Burton was inspired by it for his film "Big Fish".

Strolling through its streets and looking closely at the fishermen's cottages or the Protestant churches gives you the feeling of walking through a village-museum that has managed to maintain its authenticity despite the passage of time. It's like taking a trip back in time to the Dutch Golden Age!

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If you like this excursion, you might be interested in...

A trip to Amsterdam is a good occasion to take a trip out of the city and see other places in one day, right?

In the article The best excursions from Amsterdam you will find some very cool proposals to complete your trip to the capital of Holland, don't miss it!